Guiding the New Micro-Entrepreneur: The Importance of Engaging and Empowering Distributors in the Direct Selling Industry
The Secret Sauce of Attracting and Retaining Gen Z Distributors
Time flies and the demographic is changing. Though there will still be a lot of talks about Millennials in the years to come, we can’t deny the fact that 61 million Gen Zers are now entering the US workforce. For Direct Selling companies, this is a great opportunity to welcome new distributors. The tricky part is how to appeal to them.
We’ve already covered the specifics of attracting and engaging millennial distributors in the direct selling industry, and some of these tips will also work for Generation Z representatives. However, to ensure their long-lasting engagement and retention, we need to dwell on what makes Gen Zers tick.
Gen Z in direct selling: We’re not just millennials on steroids
Gen Z and millennials have a lot in common: these two generations possess an entrepreneurial spirit; they fancy flexibility and social responsibility; they like rewards and instant gratification; they’re also good at multitasking. Because of these similarities to the previous generation, Gen Zers are often called “millennials on steroids,” but this is a shallow definition.
Something to keep in mind is that the environment where Generation Z was brought up made them more realistic and prudent. Yes, they’ve never experienced life without smartphones or the Internet, but they did see the aftermaths of the Great Recession. “These Gen Zers have seen their parents struggle financially [due to the recession and the student loan crisis], so parents are having conversations about finances, money and debt with kids earlier. They’re having conversations older generations never really had before,” says Denise Villa, CEO at The Center for Generational Kinetics.
Unlike millennials who put a priority on making a difference in the world, 65% of Generation Z see salary as the most important factor when applying for a job. Gen Zers are also less subjected to millennial illusions of getting it all right now. Nevertheless, it doesn’t mean that they don’t want to experience fulfillment in what they do. In fact, they start looking for it at an earlier age. Gen Zers are massively skipping college in the search for alternative and more efficient ways of getting skills and work experience. Seeing how millennials struggle to pay off their student loans, Generation Z prefers to learn skills on the job and earn money now, instead of investing in their future.
Must-know facts about recruiting and retaining Gen Zers
Now that we know the differences between millennials and Generation Z, we can move on to successful strategies for attracting, training and retaining Gen Z distributors in direct selling.
- Entrepreneurs to the bone.
The Millennipreneurs managed to launch about twice as many businesses as Baby Boomers, claiming their right to have a work-life balance and not dealing with bad bosses. This has left an imprint on the succeeding generation. Because of growing up in a gig economy environment, Gen Zers see having their own business as something usual. That’s why 76% of them believe that they are owners of their careers with 73% wanting to start their own business soon.
Cara Brook, the founder of Maskcara Beauty, explains how direct selling companies can support this young generation and give them the entrepreneurial freedom they want without serious risks.
They want to have their own schedules and be their own bosses; they want to be part of something meaningful and powerful. Those are all things people kind of make fun of them [Generation Z] for. People tell them, ‘You’re right out of high school, you can’t have all these things.’ We’ve found that the newer generations don’t think they have to go the traditional route, and that is great for us because we aren’t the traditional route.
If direct selling companies can present themselves as an unconventional route for making money and becoming a successful business owner, then Gen Zers will be willing to join them. Help Generation Z in their first steps by providing a personalized distributor onboarding experience and early wins right from the start through science-based gamification. Going forward, support them along the way through ongoing training with on-demand feedback, and they will stay with your company for the long term.
- Generation of micro-influencers and storytellers.
Being allergic to all kinds of marketing techniques, younger generations want to see something genuine, and they’re more likely to listen to real people. Social Media Week found the four types of content that Generation Z would be most likely to engage with. They include real stories, day-in-the-life videos, behind-the-scenes videos, and how-to content. This point is crucial for Direct Selling companies if they consider attracting Gen Zers both as distributors and as buyers.
“Generation Z is the generation of micro-influencers,” says Chrissy Marriner, co-founder of Sweet Minerals. “They’re on Instagram building an audience online and then furthering the relationship. They might not have a huge audience of 10,000 plus, but you can build a business with a couple of hundred people watching you.” Gen Zers are good at influencing their audience through storytelling, be it Instagram stories, Snapchat videos or blogging. This is an authentic way to connect with prospects as well as to express yourself, making business even more personal.
Such an approach should be applied in distributor training as well. For example, the Isagenix training program is based on the personalized preferences of their distributors. Kirsten Young, sales program supervisor for Isagenix’s START program, says that since Gen Zers love Instagram Stories and Snapchat, they transferred their training and storytelling to these platforms: “We integrate SnapChat where it makes sense, such as creating geofilters so START gets mentioned when they’re sharing a community service or large social event with friends.” This is an example of how smart training platforms function. They allow distributors to share their stories within communities of peers and get relevant information just-in-time in the most preferable format.
- The loneliest generation.
According to the report by Cigna, a global health service company, more than half of Gen Zers “identify with 10 of the 11 feelings associated with loneliness, including feeling isolated, left out, or like no one really knows them well, etc.”
Direct selling’s greatest strength is the power of communities, which brings passionate business builders together. By uniting distributors under a common mission, DS companies can help Gen Zers find their place in life. The goal is to help them start up, supporting them at every step of their journey with a company, and to make sure that their uplines and other members are there to encourage, mentor and celebrate their success together. When the family of fellow thinkers becomes bigger and spreads around the world, it’s very important to streamline communication and help distributors stay in touch with others. This is where collaboration tools will play a crucial role. However, if DS companies don’t want to overload their field with tons of social apps and training software to help them succeed, a good option is to introduce a smart learning platform that integrates all necessary features and delivers training at scale.
Generation Z, passionate entrepreneurs who strive for financial independence, influence, and communication, can become an asset for Direct Selling companies. By tapping into their needs with the help of the latest smart tools, you can direct their potential to increase your sales and rapidly grow your field.
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